Author's Note: So…this was an interesting chapter to write. That's all I really have to say. Thank you so much for all the recent favorites and follows! Please have a wonderful day! Cheers! :)
BokononCradle: I know you wanted for me to use your line for Paige or Emily…but I felt that if I did…it wouldn't feel right, so I had Sammie said it. Hopefully you liked it as you said you did. :) I felt the same way writing the chapter from Paige's POV. I want her to get over it and just…let herself love too…but things like that don't happen immediately, you know? I think she gets enough punishment from having to deal with Emily walking around almost naked. hahahaha It's her choice if she can see but doesn't want to touch. Let's see how long she can keep her cool. ;) Thanks for coming back to read and review! Hope you enjoy this chapter. ;) Have a wonderful day!
Del: Delphine, thank you for always thinking of this story and me. It is so sweet to know that. I only adjusted your line a little bit (not "beautify" it), so don't give me too much credit for that. I hadn't want for Paige's reaction to be too huge because I want her to gradually process rather than freaking out on Emily, you know? I'm so glad you didn't choke on water though. I'd feel so bad if you did. I love your perception of Emily and Paige always being a part of each other. I hadn't noticed that even though I've written it. You're right. Sometimes, the people you love will remain in your life forever, even if it's not in physical presence. I am killing nobody! hahahaha Why am I to blame for all these killings I've never done? This is ridiculous. We need to get someone to look over this situation. hahahaha Emily will be doing more than just walking in a towel. ;) hehe So look forward to that, dear. SO MUCH fun with a house full of estrogen, right? hahahahah I can only imagine… This chapter is not as emotionally packed, but it was fun to write. Hope you enjoy it! Have a beautiful day! :)
Rushi: Of course I remember you! Wow, I hope you did well on your exams! So good to have you back and to hear from you, buddy. Thank you for continuing to love this story and the direction it's going. :) It's definitely sad to read from Emily's POV. I can guarantee you that it gets better from here. ;) As for Paige…we'll see. hahahah I love that Emily was a tease. Doesn't it twist things a little bit to see that side of her? You come asking for Samara right when I've decided to write her out. Should've been here to defend her while everyone else hated on her character in the story! hahaahah Thank you for coming back to read and review, Rushi! Is that your name? Well, I hope you enjoy this chapter and have a wonderful day! :)
Rain'sMistress: What was too damn cute? The towel tease show, or the party at the Hastings' manor? Thank you for making a remark on the future transition. I really wanted to move things along and continue to build the characters' roles and parts in a new setting. It's college AU…so I got to get it back on track after giving such a long back-story to how their relationship fell apart. haha Are you sure you'd pay double to live with them? I totally laughed when I got to that part. I haven't gotten any better offer, so I guess you can start packing your bags to move into one of the girls' rooms. ;) Hope you enjoy this chapter as much as I did writing it.
Gigabyte1: I get it. We're all busy and trying to catch up on each other's stories to review and then go back to writing our own story, while being preoccupied with Reality. hahahaha Oh how I've missed you, Arantxa. I was sure you were alive, because who else would be updating your story? Haahahah Thank you for continuing to love and support this story. Man, I think you're the only one who laughed at the scene where Sean was dancing by himself aside from me. I laughed a lot when I wrote that part. Hahaahah Awkward moments between Paily huh? I'll try to see what I can do. ;) Hope you enjoy this update and have a very good day! :)
Marmoreck: Hi Juliette! So…drama… Not much in this chapter, but hopefully you'll still like it. I know how much you love drama and I'll try to see what I can write in the future chapters. After watching Tuesday's episode of PLL, I thought I was going to faint seeing Paige all dressed up in that lesbian bar. That girl got game! Hahaahah Must've fulfilled your dream of her being the object of lust and love, right? That Shauna girl was a flirt! Hahahaha Emily's jealousy? Why must we torture Emily? Hahaha Anyway, I hope you'll have a beautiful day! :)
Paily lover: Well Jamie, if you don't like the username, you can always make a new one! :) Whatever floats your boat. Hahahaha It's so funny how you were wishing for a sexy friend like Emily walking around in just a towel. We're friends and I happen to do that all the time. Does that count? hahahahahaha I get what you mean though. I would only want a sexy friend like Emily if I was incredibly attracted to her the way Paige is attracted to Emily. Blue balls? LOL Oh…man…I wouldn't go that far, but it would make sense. Poor Paige, huh? If only she knew… I know you're still not over the Spencer/Paige thing. It's always on my mind when I'm writing. I'll see to it soon. Just trying to get into Emily and Paige's psyches for now in this new future first. :) You read this when you were drunk? Wow. That is incredible. And you read it again with a hangover? That is intense. Kudos to you! Well, I hope you enjoy this chapter. Have a wonderful day too, alright? :)
Jamscottroc54: Don't sweat it. Take care of yourself and write those papers for college, they're more important. :) I feel like this is the first time I see you genuinely struggle with Paige's character and feeling a bit distraught over her thoughts and actions. It's so amusing to see. Your review remains humorous and entertaining to read, Jamillah. ;) I enjoyed how you totally flipped my words around and said that Paige does not get credit for her self-control. I'm totally against them having intercourse anywhere else besides their own bed. lol I would Never feel comfortable having friends doing it on my bed. Would probably buy myself a new mattress too. lol I hope you enjoy this chapter. Again, don't worry about the shorts. Take care of your college applications first, girl. :)
Hipnos7777: I feel like they're becoming good friends again, what do you think? It's a great start after everything that's happened. Emily seemed to fit right in and getting along with everything okay. She's adjusting better than Paige it seems. A house full of girls…and tension. hahahahaha So much fun to write! Can you imagine what it'd be like if Aria and Hanna joined them? Oh god, I'd go mad. hahaha Well, dear, I think you inspired this one. Thank you for giving me encouraging words the other day. It gave me a little push to write this one quickly. ;) I hope you enjoy it, Anna. Can't wait to hear what you have to say after. Have a good one! :)
Nae10: Don't get too discourage. Some people get lost and eventually find their way back to where they belong. I think this will help Paige grow and become have a clearer idea of what she truly wants and what kind of future she'll let herself have. Killing you softly with their love? Reminds me of Roberta Flack's 1973 version of "Killing Me Softly". It's a lovely song. Hopefully you will enjoy this chapter too. Have a wonderful day! :)
Sazar: I wasn't aware that people would think about the story even after reading it. hahaha That is so wonderful to hear! Usually after I read a chapter, I forget about it entirely until the next update. hahaaha I'm so awful. ;) I want to thank you for falling in love with BIF. I'm sure the story reciprocates your love and appreciates you too. ;) This story definitely has a lot of heartbreaking moments. Maybe I describe the pain in too much detail? I'm just trying to grasp that really…sad and depressing feeling of having your heart broken and going through years of…hurt and sorrow because of it. I don't know if all the readers here have loved and lost, but I have…and I remember being so miserable for years on end. I like to stay true to how these characters feel. It's trippy when I write those scenes, because I try not to rely on my own painful memories to write them. But thank you for appreciating all the emotions that goes on in this story. Heartbreaking? Yes. As real as it can get? Oh yeah. Will it get better? Definitely. ;) Please enjoy this chapter and have a wonderful day!
Emsy: Thank you so much for coming back to read and review! :) Also, thank you again for your kind remarks. It's really sweet of you to say that. It definitely is still sad, but things will get better. At least it's entertaining for the time being, right? Thank you for trusting me to deliver a chapter that will make these characters grow and come together someday. Please enjoy this chapter for the time being and have a good day! :)
Disclaimers: I do not own Pretty Little Liars.
"Alright, practice is over! You put in good effort today ladies. Now go hit the showers!" Coach Blair hollered.
I stayed in the pool as everyone else started shuffling around and getting out of the swimming pool. I had wanted to stay a little longer and leisurely swim a few more laps. It was coming out of my time anyway. Coach Blair strolled over to where I was and easily crouched down with both hands still on the clipboard, one hand holding a pen.
"Fields, great effort today. Don't stay in the pool for too long. I don't need you overworking those shoulders." he used the pen to point at my shoulders and smiled. I return his smile and nodded in understanding, and he stood up and walked away, leaving me alone in the natatorium. I pulled down the goggles that rested atop my head to cover my eyes, and begin to kick off the wall with ease. I counted the strokes and came up for air, and then continued swimming in the same pattern for the next ten or so laps. I focused on nothing but the way my body was carried effortlessly through the water. It was beautiful. It felt beautiful. Being in the water was the life that I felt I could comfortably breathe in these days. With so many things changing in my life in the past two months, I felt a little overwhelmed with the new experience out in the city. It wasn't like anything I've imagined, but it was incredible nonetheless. I felt at home with this place. There was something about everything here that pulled me in and caused me to fall more in love with U Penn. Although there are still many unfamiliar places I have not visited, I felt like it didn't matter all that much because I had swimming, and time was on my side. There was always going to be time to venture across the city, but swimming in this natatorium was going to become a fleeting moment in coming time.
After swimming my last lap, I leaned my back against the wall and took in the view before me. Sunlight passed through the three tall windows of the natatorium and the rays of light reflected against the surface of the swimming pool. The light danced and sparkled enchantingly across the face of the water, and I marveled at its beauty in the passing moment. For just one second, I watch as the reflection of my life flash before me and realized how imperfectly perfect it was. Too mesmerized by the water to even realize that I was no longer alone in the quiet chamber, a voice from behind startled my senses out of the half-conscious state that I was in.
"Hey Em, do you want me to wait for you?" I turned around in the water and found myself face-to-face with Paige. She had bent down to speak to me and now our faces were merely inches apart. I opened my mouth to respond, but I couldn't seem to find my voice. Staring into her deep brown eyes, I tried to find words that didn't want to escape me.
"Yeah…if you don't mind." I finally uttered. She smiled and shook her head no. She got up and picked up the duffel bag that was lying by the edge of the pool with her.
"I'll just wait here then," she said as she gestured to the bleachers. I nodded and placed both of my hands onto the side of the pool, lifting myself out of the water in one swift movement. When I rose to my feet, she handed me my towel and then headed over to the bench seat to sit down. I dried my face with the towel, and watch as she clumsily dropped the book she was pulling out of her bag. It was adorable. I caught myself smiling and bit down on my bottom lip to keep my face straight as I walked past her. Once I felt she was a safe distance away from me, my face broke into a smile again as I revel in Paige's sweet gesture to wait for me after swim practice. Things had gotten better between us. We were friends again. Although the idea hadn't appeal to me at first, I had slowly grown to enjoy our friendship. It's just…being able to spend time with her was enough for me these days. A part of me believed that if I was patient enough and showed her I'd always be here no matter what happened, she'd come around to see that I meant what I had said that night. I wanted her to know that I was here if she needed me. I was here for comfort. I was here to love her. I would always be here. I will always be here.
I opened the door to the locker room and stride over to my locker. As I was opening it, I heard muffled voices over in the shower stalls. I shrugged my shoulders, minding my own business, and grabbed my shower kit and a dry towel. As I was about to walk into one of the shower stalls, I unintentionally overheard the conversation that was going on behind two curtains of the shower stalls. I recognized their voices and realized that it was just my two swim mates. They were the only ones left in the locker room with me.
"Oh geez, stop it. Get your head out of the gutter, Lena." I heard Kirsten said and laughed animatedly.
"What? She's so hot! I can't wait until we have our first date tomorrow afternoon." Lena said with excitement. Who's hot? Huh, I guess we have more in common than just swimming on the same team. I smirked at this newfound information.
"First date? What date?" Kirsten asked.
"My study date with Paige! That's what I've been trying to tell you since the beginning of swim practice!" Lena exclaimed.
"Wait, are we talking about the same Paige here? Paige McCullers? As in The Paige McCullers?" Kirsten dubiously questioned.
"Duh! Which other lesbian do you know that's named Paige?" Lena quickly threw back at her. Uh…none. Date? What date?
"How'd you manage to score a date with that hottie? I thought she'd never date again after what happened with Shannon." Kristen remarked. Shannon? Who the hell was Shannon?
"I have my ways." Lena slyly answered. I raised my eyebrow at this. What ways exactly?
"Wow, so it's for real?" I heard the surprise in Kristen's tone. My eyes widened immediately as realization set in when I heard the disbelief in Kristen's voice. No.
She's lying. I stormed out of the shower stalls before I could hear another word come from her mouth. She's lying. She wasn't even Paige's type! I rushed towards my locker and dropped the towel and shower kit onto the bench without care. Standing still before the lockers, my fists clenched tight to suppress the urge to throw a punch at the metallic compartment. I couldn't understand her. What the hell was going on? The muffled voices in the shower kick-started my thoughts again as I was reminded of Lena's words. Just the idea of her and Lena going out together made me want to vomit the breakfast I had from earlier. It wasn't fair. The thought echoed in my head. I didn't understand. I rested my head against my right forearm that was now leaning on my locker, while my left hand stayed clenched and started to weakly pound the metalized frame before me. I do love you, but not in the way that you want me to. I remember her say. I tried not to let those words haunt me in the last few months, but they did now. It was hard to say what was going on between us. Sometimes, things would be fine and we'd be close. Other times…she kept me at arm's length and would not let me reach out to her. I had tried to tell myself that she was just trying to get used to our new relationship, because I was adjusting to the new us as well. I was afraid that I'd scare her, but I didn't want us to gradually go back to being on unfamiliar grounds with each other again. So I tried to be friendly. I tried to be affectionate. I tried to demonstrate how obliging I could be to our new close friendship. I had wanted for us to be close. But it seemed now that no matter how hard I try, she wouldn't pick me. Instead she went with Lena, that brunette model-looking shrew. Fine. Go be with that pathetic piece of – I stopped in the midst of my thoughts as I realized what I had just felt. Jealousy. I opened the locker and grabbed my duffel bag. After putting on a shirt and shorts over my swimsuit, I quickly shoved everything I had on the bench into my swim bag. I unintentionally took my frustration out on the locker and slammed it shut before I marched out of the athletic locker room. I felt infuriated and irritated with myself. I couldn't let my feelings be a hindrance to my effort of rescuing our relationship. But I was losing my mind as I thought that. As I exited the locker room, I saw Paige now standing up on her two feet and walking towards me with a worried expression painted on her face.
"Is everything all right in there? I heard a door slamming," Paige voiced her concern when she got to my side.
"It was nothing. Let's go." I quickly said to dismiss her inquiries and led the way out of the natatorium as she followed from behind me. I realized that I was walking a bit too fast, so I slowed down a bit until she had caught up with me. We walked across the campus in silence and I secretly glanced over at her when I felt that she wasn't paying attention. She was in shorts too but had a jacket on. My eyes trailed down her long legs and watched as each leg stepped in front of the other in a perfect rhythm. I quickly looked up again and tried to concentrate on the route that we were taking to get back to our place. I walked closer to her until our shoulders were almost touching, and I finally relaxed realizing she's still here with me. I suddenly felt our skin contact on my left leg and involuntarily shivered at the touch of her bare leg.
"Are you cold?" she asked. I looked over and saw her staring at me with concern glinting in her eyes. I shook my head and before I could respond, she stopped walking and dropped her duffel bag onto the ground. Paige began taking off her jacket and handed it over to me. "Take it." she ordered. I didn't want to, but how do I explain to her that I was just trembling because of the slightest of skin contact between us? It would probably frighten her if I had told her what was truly going on with me. I sighed as I walked over and hesitantly take the garment out of her hand. I eased the swim bag off of my right shoulder and then begin to put her jacket on. It smelled just like her. So sweet and pleasing to all of my senses. Nothing could make me feel the way she does. It was the most comforting feeling amidst all these confusions. At least, I had this to give me strength to hold onto what we had. To hold onto a love that's so true. A love worth waiting for to happen again. Before I knew it, we had resumed walking side by side. With her duffel bag hanging on her left side, she held onto the strap near her shoulder to keep it in place as she walked. Her right hand hung down freely on her side near mine. I wanted so criminally to reach out and hold her hand…but I knew that I couldn't. The simple act of just us holding hands. I couldn't even do that. Because she was no longer mine. But she was all I ever wanted, and maybe all I ever wanted to do was to hold her hand forever. And even so, I was suddenly reminded that Paige hadn't wanted the same thing. This true love worth waiting for. This true love waiting to happen again. She had told me she didn't want it. I looked away and sigh as the soft breeze passed through the space between us. This was all we had left. This was it, and I had to accept it for what it was.
"I love you," she whispered. I stared into her eyes and found love there. In this moment, it was all that I knew. Her love. Her eyes. Her existence. Her life. Just her…forever.
"I love you," I said back breathlessly before I leaned down and kissed her tenderly. She reached around my neck and I felt her pull me deeper into the kiss with her delicate hands. Leaning in further into her touch until there wasn't any breathing space between us, I felt her heart flutter rapidly beneath my chest. There was nothing like this. Nothing like two hearts beating so madly that it could be mistaken as one. She moved her hands downward from the nape of my neck and grasped my shoulder blades, forcibly meshing our naked upper body with each other. I instinctively moan as I felt the heat spreading throughout my body and intuitively thrust my pelvis into hers. She broke away from our kiss and arched her back to lean further into me. Looking down, I caught her eyes, sparkling with an imminent desire to have a release. I impishly grinned as I had a plan of my own. I leaned down to trail kisses on her neck, taking turns to brush my lips lightly and then adding more pressure as I made my way across her bare skin. She whimpered and sensually moaned, urging me to go on, but I took my time to thoroughly kiss all of the sensitive points that I knew and her lithe body rose up to meet my hips in an attempt to find release. Without warning, I let my teeth sink into her skin and grab a hold of her pulse, drawing the pulsation in softly before releasing it. She groaned in frustration and her grip on my shoulders tightened, and I felt her nails threatening to break into my skin. I grinned at the reaction I was evoking from her before my tongue ran over the bruised spot delicately, and I kissed it soothingly before I moved back up to find her lips. She writhed about beneath me when she realized the tantalizing pace I was setting, and began to suck and bite on my lower lip feverishly. She stealthily slid a hand in-between our bodies and trailed her fingers lightly down my sternum to my chest and I softly moan into her mouth at how sensual it feels. She slowed down our kisses as her hand move past my navel and kept moving further down towards my center. My breath hitched as she lightly cupped my mound and I groaned involuntarily at how close I feel with her so near. Her hand teasingly left me and went to explore the inside of my thighs, and I let out a breath of frustration.
"Paige…please…" I pleaded as my eyes fluttered close. She continued to caress the inner parts of my thighs and I pulled back from our slow kisses to look at her. A smirk formed upon her lips, and I leaned back down to kiss it away. Pulling back again, I stared into her eyes as she continued to tease me.
"Doesn't feel so great being on the receiving end of the teasing now, does it?" she asked. I bit down on my lips and reluctantly nodded in defeat. Before I could say any more, I felt her hand on me again and I felt her fingers slipping into my wet folds as she began to touch me sensually. I gasp when her fingers found my clit and circled it with gentle pressure. I felt my legs lose control and I slightly trembled above her, and she used this opportunity to flip me over without warning. As I landed onto my back, I felt my breath quickening as I looked up into her eyes. She stared at me hungrily and I saw the desire burn in her eyes. Our lips crashed together and she kissed me passionately as I felt her fingers pick up their speed. I moaned and arched my back into her touch, trying to increase the friction between her fingers and my clit as I became wetter by the second.
"Oh fuck Paige… Oh god, please don't stop," I breathed out as I broke away from our kiss for air. She increased the rapidity of her fingers circling my clit and I felt the heat rising from my toes and making its way up my legs.
"Yes, right there! Mmph…yes…mhm…oh f-fuck!" I gasped when I felt a warmth shot through me. She continued to rub my clit at a fast pace in short time, and I grabbed onto her shoulders to hold onto the pleasurable feeling. Out of left field, she penetrated me with two fingers and pumped the digits into me unrelentingly. I screamed out in pleasure and I felt her lips on mine again before our tongues fell into a passionate dance of their own, while I got lost in the feeling of having her in me. I felt her everywhere as she awakened all of my senses. It felt incredible. It was unbelievable. I felt her fingers starting to curve as she thrust them into me blindingly, and I felt the rise of the heat coming on again. I couldn't focus on any one thing as her thumb continued to rub my clit while her fingers stroke and enter me repeatedly. My hips moved against her fingers uncontrollably and I felt so short of breath.
"Oh god Paige, I'm so close…" I tried to utter through my rapid breathing. I didn't think I could hold on any longer. It felt too amazing and torturous all at once. I clung onto her with all of my strength as I let out another loud moan accompanied with a cry for release.
"Please…" the word drawn out as I desperately try to press back against her touch. The fire burned so slowly and I tilted my head as far back as I can while I anticipated for the heat to burst and radiate through every inch of my body. So fucking close…I started to feel.
Suddenly, the bed slipped away from underneath me and Paige's weight that was once on top of my body disappeared. I felt myself freefalling. Freefalling? What…?
"Ow!" I jolted awake the moment my body came into contact with the floor. "Fuck!" I cursed under my breath as I realized I was now lying face down on the ground, with forearms supporting my upper body weight and my legs slightly bent. I sat up slowly and looked around, realizing that I was in bedroom. Squinting at the clock on the wall, I realized that it was just a quarter 'til six. I had fallen asleep after getting home it seemed. I let out a sigh before getting on my two feet. As I stood up, I smelt a familiar scent that lingered around me. Looking down, I realized that I was still wearing Paige's grey hoodie. No wonder I had dreamt of her. Jesus Christ. Are you fucking kidding me?
I swear, if I have to wake up feeling this unsatisfied one more time, I'm going to need to seek for some medical intervention for this kind of sexual tension. At this thought, I suddenly had the perfect idea to get a quick fix. Walking briskly over to the drawer at the other end of my room, I pulled it out and lifted up the heap of neatly folded clothes as I grabbed at what I was looking for. After I unwrapped the parched brown paper, the vibrator came into view and I bit down on my lip as the thought of getting off with Paige just across the hallway clouded my mind. I walked over to my bed and lay down unhurriedly. I slipped out my shorts and underwear and brought my hand down to see if I needed any lubricant to help ease the vibrator in. Slipping a finger into my slit, I suddenly felt how wet I've gotten from the dream I just had. Pulling my hand away, I turned on the switch of the vibrator. It started vibrating in my hand and I moved it up and down my slit to lubricate it before I shift it towards my entrance. Slowly, I eased the head in and closed my eyes as I felt it fill me up.
"Fuck…" I gasped as the vibrator went in further and I felt the butterfly arouser work against my clitoris. The sudden intrusion of vibrations startled my body and kick-started my sexual need for release again. I found the switch and turned it up a notch into an ascending speed. The quick vibrations pulsed through my body waves after waves, and I threw my left hand back, reaching for the headboard of the bed to hold onto. I was instantly reminded of how I had held onto Paige in the dream. God, she had made me so hot. Suddenly, I remembered where I was and more importantly, Paige was in the room across the hall. There was a possibility that she could hear me. Trying to stay as quiet as I can, I let out a soft whimper at the pleasure the vibrator was giving me. It felt so good. God, she had felt so good. I bit onto my bottom lip and threw my head back as I thrust the vibrator in and out at a hurried speed, imagining that it was her hand pumping into me and making me breathless. My hips rose and tried to meet my hand halfway and I felt the hunger for quick release course through me. I let go of my bottom lip to breathe more easily and a loud moan escape me as I unintentionally hit my g-spot. Fuck…it felt so good. Reaching for the switch again, I turned the dial up to the final notch and the vibrations started to pulse at a blistering speed. "Oh fuck…" I cursed under my breath. I felt the heat begin to rise in my feet and I curled my toes as the sensation made its way up my body. My back arched even further off the bed and my thrust went in deeper and deeper until I felt I couldn't hold on much longer and tightly held the vibrator still to me. The butterfly arouser worked against my clit mercilessly and my legs began to tremble as I finally felt the heat made its way up to my stomach. I clenched my walls onto the vibrator desperately and I held it tighter against my clit as I tried to relax to let the pleasure overwhelm all of my senses. Paige. Her face flashed through my mind. Like a wildfire, intense heat begins to burst through every inch of my body and I started to shake violently, crying out a silent scream as the orgasm ripped through me ruthlessly. I threw my hands down on either side of me, clutching onto the sheets as wave after wave of orgasm ran through me relentlessly. After a few minutes, I reached down to switch off the vibrator and gently pulled it out. After setting it to the side, I tried to regain my breathing.
"Holy fuck…" I breathed out. For about fifteen minutes, I lay there in my bed and stared up at the ceiling. What was my life coming to? Coming… You're hilarious, Fields. I chuckled at the thought and let out a sigh before sitting up and grabbing the vibrator with me. Standing up, I pulled my shorts back on and threw my panties into the hamper as I walked over to my closet and grabbed my bath towel. Opening my bedroom door, I peeked out to see if anyone was in the hallway. Seeing that the coast was clear, I walked swiftly across the hall towards the bathroom. Once the door locked shut, I leaned back against it and breathed out a sigh of relief. Hanging the towel onto the hook on the door, I turned around and walked over to the sink to turn the water on. I cleaned the sex toy and let it lay on the counter before I undressed and stepped into the shower stall. I turned on the water and waited in the corner for the water to get warm. After about thirty seconds, the water had become lukewarm temperature and I stepped in under it. I breathed out as I ran my hands through my wet hair and the water continued to cascade down the length of my body. I suddenly decided I needed a hot shower, so I reached around to turn on more hot water. When the water finally got hotter, I began to stretch out my arms and realize how sore my muscles were. I've been spending a lot more time in the pool ever since I've gotten here, that's for sure. And…doing some other strenuous activities. I sighed in content as the water washed over me. I loved hot showers. They always made me feel better after a long day. After running my hand over my body and washing my hair, I quickly rinsed off and stepped out of the shower stall to dry myself. I wrapped the towel around my body as I realized I've forgotten to bring in a change of clothes, and grabbed the sex toy on the way out. Feeling a little silly for running towards my room, I dried the toy and hid it back where I had originally placed it. I rolled my shoulders forward and tried to ease the tension out of my upper arms but it hadn't seemed to work. I pulled out another drawer and begin to search for my pain reliever cream that I always applied on my aching muscles, but then I realized that I had already used it up about a week ago. Standing there with hands on my hips, I begin to wonder if Paige had any out of the blue. No. Don't even think about it, Emily. I bit down on my lower lip and contemplatively stood in place, wondering if it would be all right to ask for pain relieving cream. But it couldn't hurt, right? We were friends…and swimming on the same team. Why not? I grabbed another towel as I made my way out of my room to dry my wet hair. I crossed the hallway without feeling worried until I reach her bedroom. All of a sudden, I started to feel a little nervous when I stood before her door. Just knock, ask for the cream, and get it over with. I mentally said to myself. I took another moment to relax before I raised my hand up to knock on her door. After a few moments, she finally opened the door.
I watched amusingly as her jaw dropped a little and her eyes traveled down my body. I looked down to see what the fuss was all about until I realized that I hadn't gotten dressed and was still wrapped in just a towel. She looked like a deer caught in headlights when she found my eyes again and I grinned as she blushed crimson red.
"Can I help you?" she timidly asked when she seemed to have regain her composure again. My grin grew wider as I realized I was making her nervous. Maybe I should walk around with towels more often if this was all it took to get her attention. No, stop it, Emily. You're here for pain relieving cream. Don't start. I lifted my hand up to dry my hair nervously as I remembered my purpose for being here.
"Yeah…I was wondering if you had any pain relieving cream? My muscles are aching a bit from this morning's practice." I explained. Almost immediately, her expression turned into a serious one as she looked at me with concern. She quickly turned around without saying a word and walked back into her room, leaving me at her door. I heard some shuffling from inside the room but I didn't dare to walk in. About a minute had passed before she came back with the small bottle of cream in her hand.
"Here you go," she said she handed it over to me.
"Thanks." I said and smile. Not knowing what else to say to her, I begin to turn around and leave. As I was halfway down the hallway, she suddenly called out to me.
"Hey Em," I heard her say my name. I stopped dead in my track and hesitantly turned my head around to look at her.
"Yeah?" I asked single-wordily. I watched as she thought hard about what she was going to say before she spoke.
"Take it easy, okay? Don't push yourself too hard and hurt yourself." I smiled, as I suddenly felt the warmth in my heart knowing that she still cared for me.
"Don't worry. It's just a small case of muscle aches. Nothing this can't fix," I responded and waved up the bottle of pain relieving cream she's just given me. I turned back around and walked the rest of the way to my room, still feeling her eyes on me. It was an exciting feeling. But still just a fleeting moment. It would all be gone in a second. I walked into my room and closed the door behind me. I stood still for a moment to sort out my thoughts before I unwrapped the towel from my body and hung it on one of the door's hooks. Walking completely nude over to my dresser, I grabbed a pair of panties, red plaid pajama pants, and a grey tank top. I had decided to skip out on the bra since I wasn't going out tonight. After putting on some change of clothes, I brushed my hair and put on some face moisturizer. Looking over at the clock again, I saw that it was half past seven. I wonder when Spencer and Sammie will get home from grocery shopping. It was their turn to do go this week. As if on cue, I heard the front door to the apartment swung open and was able to make out their voices and Dan's.
"I know, and I brought my cell with me just in case." I heard Paige say as I was walking down the hallway and into the living room. When I finally stepped into the kitchen where the crowd was at, Paige turned to leave and I clasp my hand onto her arm instinctively to ask where she was going. She looked up at me and her eyes stayed lock on mine. I held my breath and wonder what it was like to breathe again. I couldn't focus on her eyes alone as mine traveled down the length of her body to see her in a U Penn. sweater and running shorts and shoes.
"Where are you going?" I finally asked.
"A short run." she quickly said and smiled before slipping out of my grasp. I watched her walk away until she suddenly turned around and asked, "Can I count on somebody being here when I come back?"
"Yeah, we'll be here." Sammie spoke up for the four of us. She walked to the front door and called out for someone to come lock the front door. I instantly walked towards the door and hadn't realized Spencer had gone to the door as well until we were standing side by side. She smiled at the both of us before she left. I sighed as Spencer closed the door, and I felt her wrap her arm around my shoulder.
"Just give her more time," Spencer spoke low enough so that only I can hear. I nodded and walked back into the kitchen with her.
"So, what are we having for dinner tonight?" I asked. Spencer, Dan, and Sammie all looked at each other and shrugged. I laughed and said, "Pizza it is then."
I felt incredibly uneasy as I watched Lena and Paige exchange words from afar. It was Wednesday and we had our first swim meet against Dartmouth. I sat at the edge of the pool and let my legs splash around relaxingly in the water. The pair was sitting on the bleachers enjoying what appeared to be a happy conversation. Paige seemed really engage in what they were talking about, and Lena just kept on touching her unnecessarily. I reached for my iPod and turned the volume higher to block out all the sounds that were echoing throughout the natatorium. We were all sitting around relaxing as we waited for the arrivals of our competition. Coach Blair had told us that they were going to show up in about an hour and had instructed us to sit back and unwind before we get our head back into the game.
I closed my eyes and shut out the world around me, and leaned back onto my hands as I tried to loosen up the tension I felt all over my body. I felt a little bit on edge today. I wasn't sure if it was because it was my first swim meet here. Or if it was because of the scene that was playing out on the bleacher to torment me. I was getting the whole front row seat to the show and I felt like I could see Lena trailing her fingers up and down Paige's arm even with my eyes closed. I gritted my teeth together and clenched my jaw at the thought of Lena touching Paige anywhere more intimately. God, can't she be any more obvious about how desperate she is for Paige? Paige doesn't need a girl like that. She needs someone who was patient. Someone who understood her. Someone who'd take their time to get to know her, what she needs, the things she wants, and how she loves to be loved. Someone who isn't running their freaking hand all over at every darn opportunity.
I sighed and tried to shake the thoughts away. Focus, Fields. You need to win the 200 Freestyle and the 200 Butterfly later. I nodded and try to focus on my purpose here today. I let the music take over and my head moved to and fro to the beat of the song as it got to the first chorus.
I own this shit all week
This beat's for all my freaks
We're runnin' on no sleep
So line the shots up because
This party's jumpin'
We turn the volume up and
Don't stop 'til you get enough
To lose my mind
'Cause I work damn hard
So I play damn hard
In the night
'Cause I work damn hard
So I play damn hard
I jumped when I felt a hand on my shoulder and immediately opened my eyes. I looked up and found Paige looking down at me. She smiled when I took one of my earphones out and then sat down beside me as she let her legs dangle in the water too. We sat next to each other in silence until I finally turned over to look at her. She had her hair up in a loose neat ponytail and I watched as her eyes were now shut close. Out of the corner of my eyes, I noticed that Lena was watching us closely from the bleachers and I wanted to tell her to mind her own business but I ended up not doing it. I returned my glance back to Paige and saw that she was staring at me now, eyes filled with an emotion I didn't really recognize.
"What's wrong?" I asked after I sat up straight and twisted my body around to face her. She continued to stare at me and I watched as the corner of her mouth begins to slowly lift up.
"Nothing, really. Just remembering that day when you taught me how to swim for myself." She paused for a few seconds before saying, "I'll never forget that." Then, she smiled genuinely at me. I don't know how I've gotten so lucky. I remember that day vividly. She had hurt herself and couldn't swim in the meet, and I had accidentally run into her at the Sharks' pool afterwards. She was sitting at the side of the pool just like we were now, hands gripped on the edge as she leaned forward and stared out into the water. The lights of the pool had caused the surface of the water to glisten beautifully, lighting up her pure features in the most alluring way.
I had made my way towards her, while she was lost in her thoughts sitting by the pool.
"You okay? You didn't return any of my calls." I remarked.
"I'm fine." she said as she lifted her left hand up to touch the cut that was right above her eyebrow. "It's nothing," she breathed and turned to glance back at me while she sat there. "I didn't know what to say." she said before she turned away again. "I was riding home on my bike and totally wiped out." she nodded as she said this and I heard her breathed out ragged breaths.
"What were you thinking about?" I pressed on as I looked down at the water.
"How easy things would be if I wiped out." she said unfeelingly. She paused for a few seconds before I heard her confession, "I'm kind-of done with swimming." I let out a breath of my own.
"Yeah…I used to feel that way," I said as I looked out at the water.
"Obviously you got over it." she pointed out and I looked back down at her. She nodded her head and then looked up at me.
"How did you get over it?" she asked sincerely. I looked at her and then back down to the water at her feet.
"I started swimming for myself." I said before I looked far out at the water again. "I quit trying to be better than everyone on the team and I just…relaxed." I shrugged as I said this.
"Sounds fun," she said more keenly than she looked. I watched as she got up on her feet and began to quickly walk away from me, and I felt myself feel torn between telling her to stay and letting her walk on.
"When's the last time you swam for fun?" I unexpectedly asked, hoping the words will get to her even though she had her back to me. She stopped in her track and I waited for what was about to happen next. With hands in her pant's pockets, she turned around and looks at me in half defeat and half surprised. We stared at each other for a moment, before I smiled and looked back at the water. Moments had passed between us and I began to feel a shift in our friendship.
After she had changed into her swimsuit, cap, and goggles, I took off my swim coat and put on my swim cap and goggles before diving into the pool with her. We swam in sync like never before, and it was an incredible feeling after everything that we've gone through lately. What she's gone through lately. What she's been feeling. From lust to hate. From hate to love. From love to truth.
I felt her in the water beside me in the next lane and I smiled every time I came up for air. I kicked my feet and surfaced out of the water and turned around, while she did a backflip and pushed off the wall to continue swimming. In that moment when I'd taken off my goggles to watch her swim, I felt a feeling I had never felt before. I watched in awe as I realized how perfect she was for the first time.
So fragile. So defeated. So broken. But so incredibly strong.
"I wouldn't be here without you. I would've given up. I might've just…wiped out." she said with a faraway look in her eyes as she stared out into the water. I reached over and hesitantly placed my hand on top of hers, and she turned around to look at me. I stared into her eyes and finally recognized the emotion I didn't before.
"You're here now, and that's all that matters. The now." I spoke softly. Tears brimmed in her eyes and I instinctively pulled her in for a hug. To hold her. To comfort her. To protect her from all the pain in this world. "I'm here for you. Always." I whispered into her ears. I felt her arms wrapped around my middle and she nodded into my shoulder. I closed my eyes as I was left speechless from holding her in my arms. Give her a little time. I heard a voice echo in the back of my mind and her hold on me tightened simultaneously. And all together, pieces began to fall into place as the words escape her lips.
"I love you, Emily. I always have."